Macau WTCR: Rob Huff gets pole for opening after last-gasp lap
|By Jack Cozens||Friday, November 16th 2018, 02:06 GMT|
Rob Huff landed pole position for the opening World Touring Car Cup race in Macau with a sensational last-gasp lap of the Guia circuit in first qualifying.
Practice pacesetter Huff was fastest for the majority of the session in his Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI.
But Huff appeared to have missed out on pole when Munnich Motorsport Honda Civic driver Esteban Guerrieri beat Huff's benchmark by 0.078 seconds with the help of a tow from team-mate Yann Ehrlacher.
Huff was down in the first sector on his final lap, but was close to his personal best in sector three and he then pulled out the fastest final sector of all to clinch pole after the chequered flag had fallen.
His lap, in a time of 2m29.040s, ultimately gave him pole by a convincing 0.479s from Guerrieri, who will line up second ahead of Yvan Muller.
YMR driver Muller, who is second in the points ahead of this weekend's final three races of the WTCR season, was a further tenth behind the Argentinian in his Hyundai i30 N, having completed his fastest lap just after Guerrieri set his best time.
The pair were then involved in an incident on the run to Lisboa after their fast laps, which resulted in Muller giving Guerrieri a gentle tap into the right-hander.
Muller's nephew Ehrlacher qualified fourth in his Munnich Motorsport Civic but will start the opening race from the back of the grid owing to an engine change penalty.
First practice pacesetter Jean-Karl Vernay will therefore line up fourth in his WRT Audi RS3 LMS, ahead of Huff's SLR team-mate Mehdi Bennani.
Norbert Michelisz will start sixth, one place ahead of BRC Racing Hyundai team-mate and current points leader Gabriele Tarquini.
Frederic Vervisch (Comtoyou Audi) and title hopeful Pepe Oriola (Campos Racing Cupra) completed the qualifying top 10, with the third Munnich Motorsport Civic of Timo Scheider next up.
Andre Couto, the 2000 Macau Grand Prix winner, was again fastest of the six wildcard entrants contesting this weekend's Guia race, setting a best time of 2m34.860s in his MacPro Honda.
The session was stopped for a short while when Thed Bjork crashed his YMR Hyundai at Fisherman's bend.
Bjork, who is currently third in the drivers' standings, damaged the front-left corner of his car and was limited to 16th in qualifying as a result.
Race one qualifying
|1||Rob Huff||Sebastien Loeb Racing||Volkswagen||2m29.040s||-|
|2||Esteban Guerrieri||Munnich Motorsport||Honda||2m29.519s||0.479s|
|4||Yann Ehrlacher||Munnich Motorsport||Honda||2m29.960s||0.920s|
|6||Mehdi Bennani||Sebastien Loeb Racing||Volkswagen||2m30.173s||1.133s|
|7||Norbert Michelisz||BRC Racing Team||Hyundai||2m30.267s||1.227s|
|8||Gabriele Tarquini||BRC Racing Team||Hyundai||2m30.403s||1.363s|
|9||Frederic Vervisch||Comtoyou Racing||Audi||2m30.672s||1.632s|
|10||Pepe Oriola||Campos Racing||Cupra||2m30.827s||1.787s|
|11||Timo Scheider||Munnich Motorsport||Honda||2m30.840s||1.800s|
|12||Kevin Ceccon||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo||2m30.931s||1.891s|
|13||John Filippi||Campos Racing||Cupra||2m31.118s||2.078s|
|14||Nathanael Berthon||Comtoyou Racing||Audi||2m31.513s||2.473s|
|15||Ma Qing Hua||Boutsen Ginion Racing||Honda||2m31.553s||2.513s|
|17||Mat'o Homola||DG Sport Competition||Peugeot||2m32.120s||3.080s|
|19||Luigi Ferrara||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo||2m32.585s||3.545s|
|20||Tom Coronel||Boutsen Ginion Racing||Honda||2m32.645s||3.605s|
|21||Aurelien Comte||DG Sport Competition||Peugeot||2m32.743s||3.703s|
|22||Aurelien Panis||Comtoyou Racing||Audi||2m33.024s||3.984s|
|23||Denis Dupont||Comtoyou Racing||Audi||2m33.616s||4.576s|
|24||Norbert Nagy||Zengo Motorsport||Cupra||2m34.798s||5.758s|
|25||Andre Couto||MacPro Racing Team||Honda||2m34.860s||5.820s|
|26||Filipe Souza||Champ Motorsport||Audi||2m35.023s||5.983s|
|27||Kevin Tse||Team Work Motorsport||Audi||2m35.312s||6.272s|
|28||Billy Lo||Tian Shi Zuver Team||Audi||2m35.987s||6.947s|
|-||Kam San Lam||Champ Motorsport||Audi||2m39.501s||10.461s|
|-||Rui Valente||PCT Racing Team||Volkswagen||2m40.930s||11.890s|
|-||Zsolt Szabo||Zengo Motorsport||Cupra||2m41.228s||12.188s|